The Nonsense, and Danger, in Blaming Sarah Palin
Sunday, January 09, 2011 - 06:56 PM
If there's one thing we learned from the awful shooting in Tucson on Saturday, in case we didn't know already, Sarah Palin makes some liberals completely lose their minds. It was about 10 minutes after the shooting was announced that Markos Moulitsas of the liberal website Daily Kos, last seen advancing political discourse by writing a book comparing conservatives to terrorists, linked to a map on the Sarah Palin website which featured crosshairs "targeting" Gabrielle Giffords' district in the last election. Obviously, then, Sarah Palin was responsible for the shooting.
Clearly, the shooter was a Tea Partier, a Palin-ite and had followed Palin's direction to kill her political opponents. The fact that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Leadership Council had both used similar bulls-eye imagery on their election maps, and the DLC actually referred to targeted districts as "enemy territory", was ignored.
It was one thing for Moulitsas to push this ridiculous line of attack — his bread and butter is unreasonable attacks on Republicans which fire up the crazies on his site — but even those previously considered "reasonable" liberals jumped on this meme. It was truly frightening how the mob mentality took over. On Twitter, Facebook and blogs everywhere, Palin-haters delighted in blaming this tragedy on the woman they despised. It brought out the worst in the political left. While people lay dying they pushed this story with hateful glee. They didn't seem to notice, as they complained about "rhetoric," that their own rhetoric had taken a turn for the crazy.
When information slowly seeped out about the shooter: that he believed in mind control, that he thought the world would end in 2012, that his favorite readings included the Communist Manifesto, nobody apologized for their horrific rush to judgment. Instead, these same people, who all but accused Sarah Palin of murder, doubled down on their off-base conclusion and blamed "the culture of violence" advanced by Palin and her map.
It didn't matter that they were wrong. All that mattered was that Sarah Palin would be responsible for the murders. It's not the first time the left has behaved like this. A Census worker was found dangling from a tree so the left concluded it was the crazy right-wingers who hate the government who hung him. When it was ruled a suicide, no one apologized for these accusations. When a bomb was discovered in Times Square, people including Mayor Bloomberg, speculated that perhaps it was planted by a Tea Partier upset about the healthcare bill. When it turned out to be your usual, run-of-the-mill Islamic terrorist, no one apologized for being so wrong.
Going back a little further, liberals spread the message far and wide that the D.C. sniper was a lone gunman, a right-wing nut with a vengeance against the government. It turned out to be an extortion plot. D.C.-based attorney and blogger Gabriel Malor spent Sunday morning tweeting other examples: the IRS plane crasher who quoted the Communist Manifesto, the Pentagon shooter who was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, the University of Alabama shooter who voted for Obama — all of these were blamed immediately on conservatives, and the list goes on and on.
The difference with Saturday's shooting is that the liberals making all the previous accusations went quiet when it turned out they were wrong. But now those who publicly accused Sarah Palin of facilitating murder aren't backing away despite the evidence mounting that they were mistaken. While previous conspiracy theories vaguely blamed conservatives and the conservative movement, Saturday's mistaken ideas on what propelled the shooter had a target every liberal loves to hate: Sarah Palin. They're not letting it go, they don't care that they're wrong, if it means taking down Sarah Palin they'll do and say anything, continue to push a story which makes no sense. (What if it turns out the shooter never saw Palin's map? What if his politics leaned left? What if he hated Congresswoman Giffords for something other than her politics? Do any of these questions matter?)
As one Democratic operative anonymously admitted to Politico: “They need to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers...Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.” People are saying this, out loud, with no shame. People are dead and operatives are talking about who to "pin" this on and they don't mean the shooter.
James Delingpole sums it up for the Telegraph in Britain: "If anyone is gloating about the suffering and death inflicted on Congresswoman Giffords and her entourage, it most certainly isn’t her opponents in the Tea Party. It’s all those unprincipled grievance mongers on the liberal-left."
Something is really wrong with the country and it has nothing to do with Sarah Palin.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.